Deion and his agent are counting on the Pat's struggling on offense due to his absence (and that enough GM's around league don't begin to view Branch as a malcontent). But if the Pats roll without Branch, which I think is possible if Maroney and Dillon stay healthy and Watson and Graham can both stay on the field, then Branch could suffer multiple pains: First, and the most obvious, the Pats could just let him rot as long as Branch wants to sit out, (and Deion must be sniffing glue if he thinks that staying out until the 10th game will mean he won't get franchised for next year) without Branch building any kind of leverage he would have if the Pat's had difficulty moving the football. Branch could end up losing millions of dollars he will never recoup, this year or next... Second, and this would have to be the most scary for Branch, if the Pat's O piles up yardage without him, the odor of a 'system' player may attach itself to Deion in an most odious manner. The odds of his rep being tainted increase astronomically if Caldwell (I admit it's unlikely), or, god forbid, someone like Kight or Childress, put up more than reasonable numbers. And the 'system' stench could really begin to reek if Givens struggles in Tenn. Thirdly, by missing so much time (again figuring he does hold out to the 10th game because the Pat's refuse to cave since they are moving the ball very well), he will be at great risk for (permanent?) injury since he will have no training camp to ease himself into the harsh world of NFL contact. Even if he comes in at game 10 and plays well right away (unlikely with his rust and the fact others will have earned playing time by then) without getting hurt, Branch will lose bewteen 6-10% of his potential career stats(estimating 8-10 high output years mixed into however long he actually plays). Combine this loss of numbers with a scent of being labeled a 'system' player, and Branch could lose any hope of ever being a HOF'er despite his SB record and MVP.